The War with Poland

Order No.214

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic to the 16th Army, May 10, 1920, No.214, Novozybkov
[Novozybkov is about 60km. east of Gomel, on the line from Bryansk.]

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

* * *

To be read to all companies, squadrons, batteries and task-forces

For a long time the 16th Army remained in the background. It was numerically weak, and its task was merely to hold the front. At the present time, when the troops of the Polish gentry have developed a broad and deep offensive to the south of the 16th Army’s position and have penetrated into the very heart of the Soviet Ukraine, a task of exceptional importance has fallen to the lot of the 16th Army. Fresh units are entering the 16th Army. The basic units of the Army are receiving fresh replacements. The Republic is taking all measures to supply the regiments of the 16th Army with everything they need, and thereby to ensure that they have complete and indisputable superiority over the enemy. [1]

The most important guarantee of victory is moral superiority. This is wholly on our side, for the Polish troops are attacking in the name of aggression and robbery, whereas we are defending our workers’ and peasants’ country in the name of freedom and peace.

Comrade Red Army men! Give a fraternal welcome to the new fighters who are joining you.

Comrade commanders and commissars! Bind the old and new elements of the army together in unity of consciousness and unity of the task to be fulfilled.

The Socialist Republic is moving its 16th Army to the forefront of the fight. Millions of working people are summoning you, comrades, to perform a great deed in order to save the country.

Red Warriors of the 16th Army! Close ranks more tightly around our banner!

Forward against the enemy!

Blow after blow, until his complete destruction–until complete victory!


1. The 16th Army was formed in mid-1919, at a time when, under pressure from the Poles, our units had left Byelorussia and withdrawn behind the Berezina. The winter of 1919-1920 saw only insignificant operations on the Polish front. The 8th and 17th Divisions of the 16th Army withstood the Poles with difficulty along the wide front of the entire Western frontier: part of the 15th Army was diverted during this period to carry out the liquidation of Yudenich.

With the spring of 1920 the 16th Army received substantial reinforcements, and it played an active part in the summer campaign against the White Poles.

1 1

Last updated on: 27.12.2006